I have successfully reduced the amount of sugar I put in my coffee over the last few years. This has been aided by drinking better quality coffee, as well… the crappy stuff tends to taste more bitter, and therefore, needs sweetening up.
I used to love buying those International Delight coffee creamers–vanilla in particular was my fave. But then I read the list of ingredients…. and. Yeah. I never bought those again.
So I started to do some research on making your own vegan coffee creamer. Ideally, it would be thick and creamy, but not loaded with bad fats. It would be a little sweet, but not too sweet, and taste vanilla-y.
Bam! Enter this cashew-based thick and creamy deliciousness.
I sweetened it with dates (and cashews are also quite naturally sweet), so it’s also refined-sugar free.
What I love about this creamer, is that you could basically add whatever flavour you like to it. Cinnamon would be great, or cardamom. I really love coffee and cardamom together.
And it’s really simple to make.
Vegan Coffee Creamer
½ cup raw cashews (unsalted)
1 ½ cups water
4 dates (pitted)
1 tbsp vanilla
pinch of salt
2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
cinnamon, cardamom (optional)
Place your cashews and dates in a 500 ml mason jar and cover with the water. Screw on the top and allow to sit on the counter for 4-6 hours (or if you let it sit overnight, put it in the fridge).
Pour the whole mess into your blender (most recipes call to drain the cashews and then use a clean 1 ½ cups of water to blend. You can do this. I didn’t, because I wanted to retain as much of the dates’ sweetness as possible. I didn’t die), and add the vanilla, pinch of salt, and whatever other optional seasonings you like. Now blend it like crazy on the highest setting for a couple of minutes.
Pour back into a clean mason jar and store in the fridge.
I’m sure all of you have your own family-centric holiday traditions. Well, one of mine is a Christmas Eve fondue. I do love to fondue… I mean, c’mon, what’s not to like? Lovely, soft pieces of bread, dipped into warm, gooey cheese. You really can’t go wrong. Just add a glass of wine and The Grinch (classic animated version, please!) for me, and hot chocolate and Charlie Brown Christmas for the sprout, and you have a perfect Christmas Eve.
Last year’s Christmas Eve fondue. Don’t you love my “vintage” 1970’s fondue pot?
We usually wrap up the evening with a chocolate fondue. Because, really, the only thing that can make a fondue better is another fondue. Made of chocolate.
Speaking of local choices, I’d use the Cows Applewood Smoked Cheddar from PEI to make this (Whole Foods). It’s my absolute favourite.
Happy Christmas Eve! Cuddle up with some cheese and wine and The Grinch, and relax.
Applewood Smoked Cheddar & Mascarpone Fondue
1⁄2 lb Apple-Wood Smoked Cheddar, shredded
1⁄2 lb Mascarpone
1 tbsp Cornstarch
1 Garlic Clove, peeled
1 c Dry White Wine
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Calvados
1⁄2 tsp Dry Mustard
1 pinch Nutmeg
In a small bowl, coat the applewood smoked cheddar with cornstarch and set aside. Rub the inside of a ceramic fondue pot with garlic, then discard.
Over medium heat, add the wine and lemon juice into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir both cheeses into the simmering liquid, melting it until smooth in consistency. Once smooth, stir in the calvados, mustard and nutmeg.
Arrange an assortment of bite-sized dipping foods, such as pieces of French and sourdough breads or blanched vegetables like carrots and asparagus on to a plate. Spear the pieces with fondue forks or wooden skewers, dip and enjoy.